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Democratization’s Risk Premium: Partisan and Opportunistic Political Business Cycle Effects on Sovereign Ratings in Developing Countries

  • Steven Block

    ()

  • Burkhard N. Schrage

    ()

  • Paul M. Vaaler

    ()

We use partisan and opportunistic political business cycle (“PBC”) considerations to develop a framework for explaining election-period decisions by credit rating agencies (“agencies”) publishing developing country sovereign risk-ratings (“ratings”). We test six hypotheses derived from the framework with 482 agency ratings for 19 countries holding 39 presidential elections from 1987-2000. We find that ratings are linked to the partisan orientation of incumbents facing election and to expectations of incumbent victory. Consistent with the framework, rating effects are sometimes greater for right-wing compared to left-wing incumbents, perhaps, because partisan PBC considerations with right-wing (left-wing) incumbents reinforce (counteract) opportunistic PBC considerations.

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File URL: http://www.wdi.umich.edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp546.pdf
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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 546.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2003-546
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  1. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1999. "Fiscal policy cycles and the exchange rate regime in developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 569-580, September.
  2. Reisen, Helmut & Von Maltzan, Julia & Larraín, Guillermo, 1998. "Emerging market risk and sovereign credit ratings," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34380, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
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  5. Block, Steven A. & Vaaler, Paul M., 2004. "The price of democracy: sovereign risk ratings, bond spreads and political business cycles in developing countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 917-946, October.
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  12. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1995. "Sovereign credit ratings," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 1(Jun).
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  17. Kaminsky, Graciela & Schmukler, Sergio, 2001. "Emerging markets instability: do sovereign ratings affect country risk and stock returns?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2678, The World Bank.
  18. Bachman, Daniel, 1992. "The effect of political risk on the forward exchange bias: the case of elections," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 208-219, April.
  19. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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